About issues in Napa Valley, the North Bay, California and beyond. About media and communications. About family, history, good writing, wine, travel and everything else. All opinions expressed here are mine. This time it's personal.
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Monday, August 31, 2009
Because you really don't want to take your laptop into the john
It was random but today I got an email (by mistake, I think) and someone sent me this news story with the headline:
Newsstand sales of US magazines drop 12 percent
NEW YORK (AP) -- Consumers are buying fewer magazines at newsstands given the deep recession and the availability of plenty of free reading material online. An industry group said Monday that single-copy sales tumbled 12 percent in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2008. That followed a year-over-year decline of 11 percent during the second half of last year.
Some group called the Audit Bureau of Circulations (and don't you wish you had THAT job!) gave out these numbers
...Cosmopolitan is still the most popular magazine at newsstands, though sales fell nearly 8 percent to 1.6 million. In overall circulation figures, Playboy and TV Guide Magazine fared the worst, down 9 percent and 10 percent, respectively. People magazine's circulation fell nearly 5 percent and Reader's Digest saw a 3 percent decline.
And so here's the list - what America's reading. It may come as a surprise that we're still reading anything at all, but the magazine survives, more or less. This is a list of our most popular magazines right now, followed by a number of smart ass remarks:
1. AARP the Magazine (Ok, isn't this magazine, like, free? Something they send you when you join AARP, which is something you join so you can get discounts at Arby's? Should this count as a magazine at all? No.) 2. AARP Bulletin (Ok, more of the same shit, This list is really stupid so far.) 3. Reader's Digest (Stupidest magazine ever. Packed with inane advice, predictable humor, and maudlin sentimentality, all written with a third-grade vocabulary. When I have an appointment at Kaiser I devour it, nonetheless. So comforting.) 4. Better Homes and Gardens (They actually are still chopping down trees to print this?) 5. National Geographic (OK, first magazine on the list that is not a total embarassment to have in your home. And yet off the scale in boredom inducement. I mean, you've see one primitive culture, you've seen them all. If I want to see backward, unwashed tribes I can go to a Raiders game.) 6. Good Housekeeping (A magazine for people who find Better Homes and Gardens too challenging. ) 7. Woman's Day (About 4 million people are still reading this. Hello? It's 2009.) 8. Family Circle (Are you fucking kidding me?) 9. Ladies' Home Journal (That's it, I'm taking poison. Goodbye, world.) 10. AAA Westways (This one comes free with AAA membership, right? Doesn't count.) 11. People (Utter waste of time with zero cultural or social value. How completely irresistable and brilliant!) 12. Game Informer (First one on the list that stumped me. As you might guess, it's a magazine about video games. Good to know not all people are wasting their time with Reader's Digest and are spending their time more wisely with --- oh, never mind...) 13. Time (former news magazine that is now sort of a preachy and annoying version of People, with "news" about things that happened two weeks ago and about which you already read everything relevant a week ago.) 14. Prevention (A magazine about - preventing things, I guess. I am all for that. Things should be prevented. I think.) 15. Taste of Home (Had to look this one up. It's a recipe/cooking mag. First recipe I saw had Roman Meal bread as a key ingredient. Where's that poison I was taking?) 16. Sports Illustrated (Finally a magazine worth having! Pictures of people playing sports for 51 weeks of the year, and nearly naked women for one week a year. Mirrors the average American male's ratio of sports watching time to sexy time - 51:1.) 17. TV Guide (Consider: This publication is the same thickness today where there are 937 TV channels as it was 30 years ago when there were three TV channels. Still, it's remains an essential tool for those who just can't figure out what's on the goddamn TV without a magazine.) 18. Cosmopolitan (Amazingly, the same magazine printed 12 times a year, just with a different cover and a new name for the quiz each time.) 19. Southern Living (What the hell is published in Southern Living? "Scatching Itchy Tick Bites: Up and Down or Side to Side?" - "Okra vs. Grits: A Redneck Side Dish Throwdown!" - "Getting Your Baptist On") 20. AAA VIA (More free crap.) 21. Newsweek (See Time) 22. Maxim (Originally a sort of Playboy for younger guys, with a painful monthly effort to be edgy and hip and current. What do you mean, "just like this blog?" That's just mean.) 23. AAA Going Places (Stop it with the AAA shit!) 24. AAA Living (I mean it!) 25. Playboy (Thank God this bold defender of the First Amendment survives so we can all just read it for the articles!)
So there you have it. No Atlantic, no New Yorker, no Wired, no Utne Reader, no Harper's, no Vanity Fair. Also, no Popular Mechanics, no Popular Science, no Psychology Today. This list is, with only a couple of exceptions, a direct relic from 1965. The more things change, the more they stay the same. I'd like to write more but there's some compelling reading in the latest issue of the AARP monthly - something about how to stay young through righteous indignation and sarcasm.